If you are in Frankfurt and looking for things to do in the area, you should consider a day trip to Wiesbaden.
This spa town offers enough places of interest to keep you busy for at least a day or two, making it a worthy destination to visit on your trip to Germany. Its vibe feels very different from the international and modern city of Frankfurt, and it’s also not quite the same as visiting a small spa town like Bad Homburg.
If you’re planning on stopping by, then check out these fantastic sights that you should not miss on your trip to Wiesbaden.
Top things to do in Wiesbaden
#1 Taste the thermal water
You can find multiple spa towns close to Frankfurt and Wiesbaden is one of them. Many natural springs bubble up to the surface in this area and Wiesbaden is famous for its thermal waters.
While it’s undoubtedly fun to soak in these waters, you should check out the springs in the city centre before you head to any spa. At the Kochbrunnen, the Koch fountain, you can see one of them. Over the years, the minerals of this spring transformed the fountain so that you can see various shades of colour here.
While you can dip your feet into the fountain, and we saw people do it, you need to be careful. The water is hot enough that you can see steam rising from it.Records first mentioned the spring in 1366. Around 360 litres come out of it every minute, but you’ll only see a little bit of that water. Most gets redirected to the Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme, where you can swim in it.
Next to the Kochbrunnen, you can find a smaller fountain. You can actually drink this water! Be careful, as it’s also hot. We took a bottle that we filled and then waited for the water to cool down.
In the end, the minerals were so strong that we only took a tiny sip of it. In fact, there are so many minerals in this water that you shouldn’t drink more than 400ml of it per day.
#2 Stroll through the Kurpark
The Kurpark is a large park with a lake, flowers, and many paths to go for a walk. You can find it behind the Kurhaus, and it’s a great place to come to if you want to take a break. Sit down on a bench and enjoy the nature around you or watch the locals.
If you come here in summer, you can rent a boat and row around the lake. We didn’t have enough time for this activity, but it looks like a lot of fun and something we want to try at one point.If you want to visit another spa town with a fantastic Kurpark, you should head to
#3 Admire the Kurhaus
In the 19th century, Wiesbaden grew from a small village into a famous spa town. More and more visitors flocked to the city until the first spa house, which dated back to 1810, wasn’t large enough anymore. In the early 1900s, the city tore it down and replaced it with the building you can see today.
The name “spa house” is a bit misleading, as the Kurhaus doesn’t house a spa. Instead, this was a venue for concerts, which took place here almost daily.
These days, the Kurhaus is home to a casino and a restaurant. You can still catch a concert here from time to time, so make sure to check out the schedule.
Even if you didn’t come to Wiesbaden to gamble, the Kurhaus is worth a visit for taking pictures and admiring the interior. Plus, it’s just next to the Kurpark, so you can easily stop by and take a look.
#4 See the giant cuckoo clock
Did you know that Wiesbaden is home to a giant cuckoo clock?
You can find it in Burgstraße, outside a shop that sells traditional German handicrafts. If you have a bit of time, you can wait for it to ring. Between 8 am and 8 pm, the cuckoo appears every half an hour, so the wait shouldn’t be too long.If you want to see more cuckoo clocks, you should head to the Black Forest. Here, you can find museums and shops dedicated to these very German clocks.
One of the highlights of visiting Wiesbaden is taking the Nerobergbahn. This funicular takes you to the top of the Neroberg, a hill in north-eastern Wiesbaden, and is worth a ride for the experience.
The Nerobergbahn works with water. You have two cars, one going uphill and one going downhill. Once these cars are fully loaded (mostly with tourists), water flows into the vehicle at the top until it’s much heavier than the one at the bottom.
This top vehicle will now go down and pull up the other car. Once everyone reaches their destination, the water is removed from the bottom car and pumped back up the hill to fill the car at the top.
Make sure to take a close look when getting onto the funicular, as you can see the water splashing out at the bottom.
#6 Walk around Neroberg
On top of the Neroberg, you can find a park and a few other highlights. We highly recommend that you spend at least one hour exploring to check out the following sights:
Monopteros temple: In the middle of the park, you can find a classical Monopteros temple. The columns of this temple once stood down in the city centre and, back in the day, were used for holding oil lamps to light up Wiesbaden. Philipp Hoffmann, a German architect, transported them up here in 1851 to build the temple.
Standing in the Monopteros temple, you have a great view of Wiesbaden.
St Elizabeth’s Church: If you walk a bit downhill, you can find a Russian Orthodox Church. Remember Philipp Hoffmann, the guy who also built the Monopteros temple? He travelled to Russia in the mid-1800s and loved it so much that he started studying Russian church architecture.
When Duke Adolf of Nassau lost his wife, Elizabeth Mikhailovna of Russia, he asked Philipp Hoffmann to construct a church around her grave. With its golden towers, the result looks stunning and is well worth a visit on your trip to Wiesbaden.
Opelbad and Klettergarten: If you have a lot of spare time and the weather is nice, you can find two sights up here that locals flock to. One of them is the Opelbad, a pool on top of the mountain. This is a great place to cool down on a hot summer day.
The other one is the Klettergarten, an adventure park that involves climbing and balancing around treetops. These parks became very popular in Germany a few years ago and are lots of fun to go through. You can usually choose between different routes and difficulties and will need to get past lots of obstacles to hop from one tree to another. Don’t worry, though, it’s perfectly safe, and you’ll be secured in case you fall.
The word Schlossplatz translates to Castle Square, and it forms a central location in the middle of Wiesbaden. You can find lots of historic buildings bordering the square.
The first one is the Stadtschloss, the city palace. The Dukes of Nassau built this palace in 1841 but only lived here for a bit more than 20 years. In 1866, Prussia annexed the region and sent the dukes into exile.
Today, the Stadtschloss serves as the seat of the parliament of Hessen.
Next to the Stadtschloss, you’ll see the Old Town Hall, the oldest building in Wiesbaden. It dates back to 1610 and is now a civil registration office.
Far more impressive than the Old Town Hall is the New Town Hall. It might not be as old, but its Neo-Renaissance style and its size make it one of the most remarkable buildings in the area.
The final building along Castle Square is a church, the Marktkirche, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
#8 Admire the Marktkirche
Back in the 19th century, upon its construction, the Marktkirche was the largest brick building in the whole Duchy. Even today, Wiesbaden’s biggest church remains an impressive sight, with the main tower that’s almost 100 metres high. In fact, it stands so tall that we found it difficult to take pictures of the whole church!
The church opens for a few hours each day, so you can go inside and take a look at the interior.
#9 Biebrich Palace
In Southern Wiesbaden, only a short train or bus ride away from the city centre, you can find Biebrich Palace. Just like the City Palace, this palace served as a residence for the Dukes of Nassau.
Around Biebrich Palace, you can walk through the large castle park and discover ponds, fountains and even a cute castle called Mosburg. You can also visit the interior of Biebrich Palace, but you’ll have to join a guided tour, and those only take place in German.
As an alternative, if the weather is nice, we recommend that you take a break from sightseeing and enjoy a drink in the cafe on the riverside.
If you have enough time, you should visit the Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme. This spa, named after Emperor Friedrich, offers you the chance to relax in the thermal waters you saw at the Kochbrunnen.
The Romans already built a steam bath at this exact location, and you can easily spend a few hours here enjoying the various steam baths and saunas. We, unfortunately, haven’t made it to the spa yet, but it is high on the list of things we want to do in the future.
How to get to Wiesbaden
If you want to visit Wiesbaden, it’s easiest if you make your way to Frankfurt first. From here, you can either take a regional train or an S-Bahn (S1 or S9) to Wiesbaden. The train ride takes between 40 and 50 minutes, depending on where you get on the train and which line you take.
You can get more information on train schedules on the RMV website.
If you prefer having more time in Wiesbaden, you should consider visiting overnight. If you stay here, we recommend looking for a place close to the city centre so you can enjoy the city without spending too much time on public transport. Get started now by searching for hotels on Booking.
How to get around Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden’s city centre is small enough that you can walk to most of the places mentioned above. Two sites will take you longer to reach, though, and they are the Neroberg and Biebrich Palace. Within Wiesbaden, you can find multiple bus lines, as indicated on this map.
Bus line 1 takes you from the city centre to the Neroberg and back again. If you want to go to Biebrich Palace, you need to take bus 14.
Best time to visit Wiesbaden
You can visit Wiesbaden all year long and have a good time. The Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme is especially lovely in winter, as you can warm up in the saunas and steam baths.
For all other points of interest, though, we recommend avoiding winter (unless you come in December to see the Christmas market). Spring, summer and early autumn are best, so you can go for a walk in the Kurpark and the gardens around Biebrich Palace.
If you come in summer, expect to queue at the Nerobergbahn. We waited for more than half an hour before it was our turn to go up. Spring and autumn will be less busy.
We hope you now have a good idea of what to do in Wiesbaden. The city makes for a fantastic day trip from Frankfurt, and we highly recommend that you come here and check it out!
If you need more inspiration for your trip to Frankfurt, we have you covered. As we’ve been living here for a few years already, we had time to thoroughly explore the area and write lots of articles that will make planning your trip a lot easier. Go and take a look at the following resources to get started:
- The best things to do in Frankfurt
- Where to stay in Frankfurt – your complete neighbourhood guide
- How to spend one perfect day in Frankfurt
- Go for a hike near Frankfurt and see three castles in one day
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